Reading Reviews for The Orchard
42 Reviews Found

Review #1, by mrsdeanthomas421 Worms and Secrets

22nd March 2016:
I love this story!! Lily is so well written- thank you for making a believable, flawed Lily Evans. Too often I think we get the image of perfect, beautiful, smart, kind to everyone Lily. It is nice to see a more human character! I think she is really just overwhelmed at the disappearance of Laura. Her decision to abandon Mary to the Slytherins maybe wasn't quite as much out of malice as it was of frustration, eh? Keep up the good work. I'm riveted and can't wait to see more of Regulus!

Author's Response: Hi! Thank you so much! I'm always so worried that people are going to throw rocks at me for making Lily less than perfect. She's always been difficult for me because every time your hear someone speak of her she seems like the fantastic woman who could do no wrong. I don't believe anyone is like that. I wanted to challenge that and show that human side of Lily who may not have been all wonderful all the time. Who made bad decisions, whose boldness and passion rubbed off on people the wrong way sometimes. I want to paint someone who is lost. So i'm over the moon that you think she's realistic and aren't going to throw rocks at me for her characterization.

Yah, i'd say you're close. A mixture of frustration, anger, confusion, maybe a little bit of selfishness. I don't think she'd want Mary to be hurt necessarily, but she doesn't know what to think anymore and when Lily is frustrated or mad in this she often just reacts and doesn't think all the way through what her actions could do.

Thank you so much for your review!

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Review #2, by Penelope Inkwell Chains

17th September 2015:
Mary caught herself staring at the cracks in the castle walls for too long sometimes. The places where the mortar was the only thing keeping the stones together. She imagined it chipping away slowly, crumbling as the hands of time clicked away.
--I really liked this opening. It set up Mary's mindset for us without telling us outright. And it was just a very nice bit of writing.

Ha! Florence on the Quidditch team. That'll be fun times. Poor James.

I do wonder about Lily there. It's odd to say that they mean no real harm. I mean, she seemed to think that the Dark Magic the Slytherin boys were getting up to was dangerous when she broke things off with Snape. I wonder if she just wants to believe that, because she can't bear to believe the worst of it? Or maybe she was a bit more protected for a while, by being Snape's friend. If that's the case, I wonder if it'll change now.

Mary couldn’t help but notice the strange shadows they would cast and how the dark would flee with each step they took. Mary tried to let that comfort her.
--I liked this bit, too.

I can definitely see why Florence and Lily wouldn't get along. Mary's right--they're a bit too much alike. Very opinionated, very protective.

I wonder what it is, exactly, that happened to Mary. Was it getting attacked by Mulciber? But then it also seems like something's happened with her family. She's such a sad, careful girl, and for all her living in the moment, she seems really reluctant to interact with anything or anyone. She seems a bit more at ease around James, but apart from that, even Mafalda and Florence seem to set her on edge, and she's so uncomfortable around Lily and Laura. I hope she can break through a bit of this, soon, but it seems as though she's really been through something awful.


There was a slicing chill to the air that some students swore that it was from more than just the cold.
--This sentence seems to be stuck between two different directions. I think this should either be, "There was a slicing chill to the air and some students swore that it was from more than just the cold," or "There was a slicing chill to the air that some students swore was from more than just the cold."

That is what Mary felt, though, if anyone where to look at them they could assume they were the best of friends taking on the windy Scottish autumn together.
--I don't think you need that comma after "though".

maybe she thought it may atone her for something.
--most properly, you wouldn't say "atone her"; you'd just say "atone". I think it would also be more correct to switch "may" to "might".

Man, the mysteries just keep on stacking up: what's happened to Laura? Why did she want to talk to Mary? What was the deal with what Regulus said to Mary? Why did Lily call the Slytherin boys 'harmless'? Why did those people disappear? What's happened to Mary, to make her so lost and timid?

Why on earth does Florence suddenly want to play Quidditch?!

So many questions. You do a good job of linking in little mystery after little mystery, making us curious. I wonder what Mary thinks of the other Marauders, too. And I'm curious about whether she'll connect with Lily, eventually, or whether they'll remain at odds.

Good work, and congratulations again on your Dobby nomination! That's huge! :D


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Review #3, by Penelope Inkwell These Walls

17th September 2015:
She kept to herself as well and would only sometimes sit with her dorm mates at tea time when she couldn’t bully a word out of her Ravenclaw friend.
--It was really interesting to see Mary's perspective come out with the word "bully". From Lily's perspective, or even from Florence (who would probably do the same thing), that word wouldn't be warranted. I like the way you're slipping bits of characterization in subtle places.

She found herself gazing more out of the window in the foggy evening air than reading. She watched the raindrops fall on the glass and zigzag all the way down like shooting stars. Drops of wishes that all too quickly disappeared into the night air. The tip of the chimney of Hagrid’s hut and some of the branches from the Whomping Willow seemed to carve their way through the fog.
--Love the imagery here!

“First years are coming,” Florence said and pointed behind her. Peeves let out a howl and zoomed past the three of them with exuberance.
--This girl. Honestly, she cracks me up :)

Oh! For some reason I had thought that Mary was a Muggleborn, but I suppose she's a Pureblood, isn't she. Ahh, okay. Now I can see it. Well, then I suppose she's just rather sensitive to atmosphere? Or did something happen to *her* family? I wonder...

“Gods, Mary, why are you awake? Why am I awake?” she complained. She yawned and dropped her head onto Mary’s lap. “Friday’s are rubbish. I woke up and saw that I still have this nasty colour of varnish on my nails still. It made me want to get sick on Mafalda, to be honest.”
--every line Florence says is just a gem. You're doing a great job with her. It's good to have someone to lighten the mood a bit.


It was strange for those involved to see such an alive, vivacious girl suddenly cave into oneself.
--I think that, in this case, "herself" might match up better than "oneself" does.

The worst came from Lily who didn’t know what do to with herself now that her friend was back, but a friend so changed didn’t make it any easier for the Gryffindor who was used to getting her own way.
--I think there should be a comma before "who didn't"

It gave an eerie appearance to the grounds as though they were apparitions.
--I believe there should be a comma before "as though". Also, your use of they suggest that the grounds look like apparitions, but I think that you're referring to the branches and the chimney? Might be good to clarify that.

Another good chapter. And I'm just as nosy as the rest of the student body, because I want to know what happened to Laura. I also really like that you've cast James and Mary as old friends--it's nice to get a glimpse of him from that perspective. Oh, and I like that you included Peeves! Poor Peeves, left out of the movies. I like seeing him make an appearance in people's fics!


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Review #4, by Penelope Inkwell Welcome

17th September 2015:
Hi! I'm stopping by, trying to read through all the Dobby nominations--CONGRATULATIONS! by the way.

So, this is really interesting. I've never read a Marauders Fic that didn't start with either Lily's friends or the Marauders themselves, but this one seems to start out with another social group. It's interesting to see Lily from the perspective of people who aren't friends with her, who see her as an outsider.

Florence rolled her eyes and threw the polish out the window.
--I feel like in a very short time, you've been able to tell us a lot about Florence's character. This says a lot. She pops off the page. She would annoy me like crazy in real life, but reading about her makes me laugh :D

They began chatting about the long summer which really was no summer at all and was unseasonably rainy and cold the whole time.
--I love that you included this detail! It's like when the weather went sour when the Dementor presence increase in the books. And it makes a lot of sense, since Voldemort is on the rise.

I think it was very realistic to depict Mary as being sort of disillusioned with the wizarding world as anti-Muggleborn sentiment rises. After all, Muggleborns aren't that common, so her friends probably can't totally relate to what she's feeling (although, to be fair, she does seem to be trying to hide it, rather than talk it out).

I wonder if maybe she'll connect with Lily? It could be a bonding point, between them, that they're both having this experience.

And I wonder what happened to Lily's friends!


So, as a rule, I always give a bit of CC, because I find it super helpful as a writer. However, it's my observations and opinions; sometimes choices are stylistic and not meant to be 100% grammatically accurate, sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes you might just like it the way it is, and that's okay! I'm just pointing out some things I noticed, and you can do whatever you want with them. You're the author--you do your thing. :)

The weather was startlingly cold for September First.
--in this case, I don't believe you'd capitalize "first".

Especially since she recieve a free train ride where nothing happened.
--"recieve" should be spelled "receive", and it should also be past tense, so "received".

She said there was no particular reason for this and that it had become a habit since first year however no one pointed out that it hadn’t always been that way. They let it go like they always did as they sat down beside Florence who was sitting about halfway down the Gryffindor table.
--I think the first sentence might flow a bit better if "however" was changed to "and". And I think there ought to be a comma after "Florence".

None of them knew what to expect this year or what was waiting for them, but as the hat opened its slit to sing optimism crept into their dreams for this year had to be better than the last.
--This sentence would flow better with some different comma placement. Something like this would work well: "None of them knew what to expect this year or what was waiting for them but, as the hat opened its slit to sing, optimism crept into their dreams, for this year had to be better than the last. New beginnings always meant that it seemed."

Good job with this first chapter. I feel like I've got a bit of an idea what all the characters were like, and I'm really looking forward to seeing (a) how Lily is going to fit into all this, and (b) what happened to her friend?

Good work!


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Review #5, by Beeezie Games Continue

20th July 2015:
Ooh, I know it's not the point of the story, but I love the intricacies you're working into the Marauders' personalities and relationships. For Peter to be the maniacal Quidditch fan and Sirius to be kind of "eh" about the whole thing is such an interesting choice, but when I think about it, it makes sense - particularly the former. Peter did always worship them. (Loved that scene, btw - you did a great job with it.) And aha, Sirius is talking to Eleanor! I want them to work out so badly, but... sad face. Lily really annoyed me in this chapter, though - first she insults Mary, then she drags Mary and Mafalda down to the pitch when they're clearly not interested in going, and then she ditches them immediately? Ugh. I don't blame James for not mentioning her and for moving on. Maybe moving on? Why did he want Mary to meet Helen so badly? I'm so confused and there's only one more chapter up! Zayne, I want to know what happens! Particularly with Laura. Poor Laura. Whose note Mary hasn't even read yet, I don't think. Ugh, Mary, you should get on that.

Why is there only one more chapter?

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #6, by Beeezie Clock Tower

20th July 2015:
I love how dedicated Mafalda is to her studies - it's tempting to see it as simple studiousness, but - and I may be reading too much into this - with the scene and tone you've set for this story, I'm starting to see everyone's behavior in part through the lens of coping mechanisms - and through that lens, I can see why hyperfocusing on schoolwork would be an escape. The Ministry is a good reason, and it's a reason that makes sense, but I have a hard time believing that's all of it, especially since she's stretching herself so thin. Mary even seems to acknowledge that, a little, after Regulus talks to her. And speaking of which: what is up with him. I just genuinely don't get it. He doesn't seem particularly aggressive or hostile and threatening. He's just... there. Making comments. I don't get him, and I don't know what's in Laura's letter, and I so want to know both! I guess the only thing for it is to read on.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #7, by Beeezie Owls

20th July 2015:
I just realized that some of these chapters don't have any reviews at all! For goodness sake, why? This is such a riveting story! When this race is over, I'm going to have to remember to go recommend it in the story rec threads, because it's wonderful.

I appreciate the way the Gryffindors in general have banded behind Dirk Cresswell. I mean, I get that he's not particularly likeable, but it seems like a wonderful example of 1) even someone who's not super likeable doesn't deserve to be cursed and 2) people get your alliegance in certain things even when they aren't super likeable. If the Slytherins are banding together, so should everyone else. Florence actually grew on me a lot this chapter - I still think she's kind of mean-spirited, but I'm also thinking that it's her armor against stress and genuine fury, and that's something I understand much better. The reference to how her perfect sister always used to harp on intrigued me - I'm not sure if it just means that she finished school or if something more sinister is going on. (Florence is still mean-spirited, though. Mocking Mafalda about studying hard because she'll never be first in the class? Really? Florence, uncalled for.) The new rules make sense to me, especially if Dirk Cresswell was seriously injured (which he certainly seemed to be), but - and maybe this isn't where my mind should be right now, but it was an idle thought that popped into my head anyway - if there are any Slytherins who aren't into this whole pureblood supremacy thing, this must really be awful for them. That said, it's protecting everyone else, so oh well. I did find James's response really interesting, though - he seems to be writing to someone in the Order/who he trusts to deal with the situation about the incident, and he's comfortable admitting exactly what he thinks happened. I actually really, really love your James - when I'm done with this, I'm going to need to go see if you have any James-centric fics. I'm also curious about whether you've written anything about Lily, because this is by far the most flawed Lily I've read - and that's not a bad thing.

Amazing job.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #8, by Beeezie Holes

20th July 2015:
Oooh, Mary, I am right there with you. In the immortal words of Mrs. Whatsit - wild nights are my glory. (Madeleine L'Engle, I love you.) There's something particularly wonderful about a storm when it's reflecting conflict that you're feeling - it's like the weather is reaching out to comfort you. I don't know, personally if I lived in a place where every other day was a storm I'd be happy. I love storms. I'm wondering about Florence's suddenly taking to the Quidditch pitch, even in the rain - it seems like there's a lot of inner turmoil she's feeling that she needs to take out somewhere, and the Quidditch place is where she's choosing to do it. As a Beater, she's certainly got opportunity. I've felt like she's just needlessly aggressive, but I'm wondering whether she has some trauma that's making her act out, too - even if it's just the stress of the war. If that's the case, I still think she's mean-spirited, but I get it a little more. It's certainly more adaptive (IMO) than Mary's response, which is essentially to freeze like a deer in the headlights. I get it, I do, but my feeling is that it's easier to redirect momentum than it is to create it. Unfortunately, nobody gets to choose how they react to trauma. I do wish she'd open up to somebody, though, and I hope that she blows up at Lily at some point about what foul people those guys - including Snape - are. My heart went out to Dirk Cresswell (I'm assuming that's who that was?) too - what a horrible thing to have happen to you, and having someone come upon you and not offer support... I mean, again, I get that Mary doesn't have the energy to deal with anyone else's pain, but this is just such a terrible situation.

It's a wonderful chapter, though.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #9, by Beeezie Pressure Points

20th July 2015:
Huh. That's... okay, that makes her response to the trauma make a lot more sense to me. Not that it didn't before, but that brought it from heartbreaking to terrifying. I'd assumed that she just wasn't home for it, but it seems like she was home - her memory was just erased. I'm not sure if it was magical or repression, but either way - oh my god, that's terrifying. IMO, there's very little that's worse than not knowing, and I feel like you generally know when something important is missing. I'm wondering whether Mary has some experience with that, and that's why Laura opened up to her - she sensed it. I did wonder why it was so important that Laura's parents' deaths were hushed up, though - I can see it if she'd made that call, but she says that the Ministry did. People are dying left and right - what makes Laura's parents so different, and why do they think no one would notice? Regardless, though, if that's what Mary experienced - yeah, I get that. It's scary. But I can understand why Mary couldn't really deal with it, and why she couldn't look at the Ravenclaw table during the feast. She's too overwhelmed by her own pain and anxiety to take on someone else's - mistery only loves company to a point. And right now, while I still don't love Florence, her hostility toward Lily is making a little more sense to me - as is Laura's reticence to open up to her. Unfortunately, though, I wonder if that's part of what's pushed Lily back toward Snape - he's familiar ground, isn't he, and at least he likes her, from her point of view. But if I were one of her housemates? Yeah, I'd be angry, too.

Great chapter!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #10, by Beeezie Confession

20th July 2015:
Aha! Unless this is a different Eleanor, there is a connection between ATG and the Orchard! Eleanor's a fairly common name, of course, but still, it sounded like her! If that's the case, I appreciate it and approve. I love seeing little connections between fics. At any rate: I can see why it flew off your fingertips, and I certainly flew through it! (And not just because I'm speed reading for the HC, which is totally going to leave me with a headache.) This was a great chapter - I felt like you covered a lot of little stuff in ways that really added to the story, and I'm curious to see how things like Regulus skulking around and Mafalda's date play out. And then, of course, there's the revelation from Laura. On one hand, I guess it isn't surprising - something that affected her to such an extent had to be traumatic, and that's one of the more traumatic things that can happen to you - but on the other, I'm a little curious about why she wouldn't at least tell Lily, even if she didn't want to talk about it. Then again, once you tell someone that, especially someone close to you, I can see how they might not let you not talk about it. Huh. Regardless, though, I feel so bad for her, and I can see why she's struggling with magic now - though it does make me very worried for her, because I feel like she could easily be next.

Great chapter!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #11, by Beeezie Dreams

20th July 2015:
Wow. Florence, you are super, super self-centered. And I say this as someone who adores Cordelia Chase. Mafalda was pushing Mary after the nightmare in an appropriate way, but I can't imagine anyone ever opening up to Florence when she behaves like that. And, it's super hypocritical to tell Mary that she needs to open up when you hide things like mysterious letters yourself. Distaste for Florence aside, though, I continue to feel like you're really handling Mary wonderfully - there are so many little insecurities and uncertainties along with the obvious things like nightmares that make it clear to me that there's something haunting her - e.g., feeling like Sirius was always insulting her. I'm starting to see why, though - Mulciber and Avery are such nasty pieces of work, and at this point I'm feeling quite annoyed with Lily for insisting that they're harmless. No, Lily. This is not what harmless looks like. (Florence is still being a jerk, though.)

Next chapter!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #12, by Beeezie Chains

20th July 2015:
Oh, Lily. Completely harmless? Really? I have a hard time believing that, and I have to side with Mary on this one. It's interesting to see Mary explicitly turn the assumption I made in chapter one on its head, though, and attribute Lily's idealism to her being more removed from the wizarding world. I can see how that would work, too, actually. God, what happened to Mary, though? It's clearly not just "things have gotten bleaker," though that obviously doesn't help. Florence is continuing to irritate me. I was glad to see James walking with Mary instead of her - James is much more interesting and less aggressive. See, Florence, you can have fire without being a huge jerk about it and criticizing your friends. (I really don't like her. It seems almost like she's doing it on purpose, though I'm probably just a conspiracy freak.) I can see how Lily's friendship with Snape would have hurt her among her housemates, though - it makes total sense that they'd hold it against her when he was bullying and hexing them.

I am already mourning that there's not more to this story, and I still have a lot to read. Zayne, you are amazing. I'm so glad I decided to read this rather than flitting around between short one-shots.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #13, by Beeezie Ancients

20th July 2015:
You made me so excited when Laura sought Mary out, and then you dashed my hopes immediately. You are terrible. (And wonderful.) I love, though, the way that Mary's reactions are very clearly individual and based on her own experiences, not gratifying the reader's reactions and curiosity. It makes her feel thoroughly developed as a character, and it really makes me wonder what's going on in her head - and in her past. Because that's the key, I think - the more I read, the more I'm convinced that there's something deeply traumatic that's happened to her. I'm not sure if it's whatever Lily was referring to with Snape in the memory in DH or something else entirely, but either way, my heart goes out to her. I also love the intricacies you're introducing in terms of her relationship with Florence - it's sad, but sometimes people fit so well together and then just... stop fitting. I feel like that's happened here - whatever Mary says, it just feels like Florence is criticizing her rather than encouraging her, even in a tough love sort of way - but regardless, it's so hard and painful to go through, and it's not something that it seems like Mary has the emotional capacity to handle right now.

Yeah, I hope I finish this before we're done with our reviews, because I'm going to keep going until I do. Zayne, I love you.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #14, by Beeezie These Walls

20th July 2015:
Ahhh, I was wondering whether something had happened to Laura. Well, you're just hammering in "THIS IS A WAR" from the get-go, aren't you? I have no idea what happened to her, but she's clearly shell-shocked and dealing with some pretty major trauma. I find the way you're having her withdraw rather than act out to be interesting - it's such an individual thing, but I've always been more comfortable with acting out than with catatonia (probably because that's how I react to stress). Florence is really getting on my nerves, though. She did last chapter as well, to some extent, but it's intensified this chapter. I like snarky, sarcastic characters as much/more than the next person, but she's not just being sarcastic and snarky - she's being mean-spirited, and it feels out of place in a setting like this. I do understand why she'd be a little peeved at Lily, but just... really? Come on. I like Mary's conversation with James much better, though it did make me realize that my assumption about her being Muggleborn was off-base. I guess Death Eaters don't discriminate - they'll go after blood traitors, too! Equal(ish) opportunity bullying/murder is such a beautiful thing. (See, Florence, that's sarcasm.) It was so interesting to hear his perspective, and I was really annoyed at Florence interrupting him.

Loving this story.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #15, by Beeezie Welcome

20th July 2015:
So on one hand, I usually try to read things with less than 2500 word chapters for TAR. On the other, I like you and your writing, so I'm going to come down on the "I will read and review faster if I'm enjoying the fic and have got a lot to say." So here I am. I'm curious, because you mentioned Mafalda in ATG, too - is Orchard set in the same "universe" as ATG?

Regardless. I really loved the juxtaposition here between Mary and a lot of her fellow students. I can appreciate meeting the train with a "Oh, come on, another year?" in normal situations, and this situation isn't normal - there's a war going on that Muggleborns are major targets in - IMO, even more so than Muggles, who can hide in a crowd a little better, and I can see that having a significant effect on Muggleborns who've got to be feeling fairly disenchanted with the wizarding world just now. However, I also felt like you did an amazing job of balancing how Mary's a little soured to the wizarding world right now. However, while I definitely got an undercurrent of that throughout the chapter, I appreciated the fact that it flowed with the narrative rather than weighed everything down with moroseness. You did an amazing job of setting the scene for the story, and you introduced a lot of really intriguing interrelationships that I can't wait to read more about. Lily's not being a prefect did confuse me a bit - I thought canon was that she was? but whatever. I'm not super invested in the Lily-the-rule-follower interpretation anyway. :P

Great job!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #16, by Unwritten Curse Ancients

19th May 2015:
Hi again! I'm back for your third review. Sorry it took so long.

First, I have to get something off my chest… OMG REGULUS BLACK I LOVE HIM GAH. Okay, now I'm done.

But really, I adore Regulus Black. He's such an under appreciated character. So even though he's kind of being a jerk in this chapter, I still loved seeing him and knowing that he's part of the plot in some small (maybe big?) way. I'm really curious what the Slytherin boys are alluded to that happened in Mary's past. I hope I didn't miss anything, but I'm assuming you're leaving breadcrumbs and we'll find out in a later chapter.

You keep drawing me in with the Laura plot line! Why did she approach Mary? What was she going to say? And why is she in Ancient Runes when she isn't usually? I'd say you're doing a great job at sustaining the intrigue/tension. I'm certainly intrigued!

And Mary. Mary is the type of person I wish I was, but at the same time I'm grateful I'm not. Does that make sense? She's so organized and studious and she's a great friend and the "mom" of the group--all good qualities that will take her far in life. But at the same time, keeping everything together all the time is HARD. She's bound to explode one of these days, and I wouldn't want to be her (or be around her) when she does. She's kind of like Hermione in that way.

Anyway, I've really enjoyed reading these three chapters. If you'd like to continue this exchange and read/review three more chapters, just let me know on the forums. (Although I think you were asking to just read three chapters and leave a review at the end… Oops!)

-- Gina

Author's Response: Hi Gina!

I'm so glad you like Regulus! I'm so enjoyed writing him in and exploring his character. He is so under appreciated and I think he could be fairly complex! I guess we'll see the part he plays! Haha. I am a fan of bread crumbs. They are my favourite thing ever!

I suppose you'll have to find out about what is up with Laura :) she continues to play a decently large role in the fic so have no fear!

I like Mary too, but I'd rather not be her. I'm far too outspoken and straightforward. I get what you're saying though, it would be hard to be her and how she keeps everything bottled up inside her and just keeps pushing herself forward with no thoughts of how it will effect her later. I'm curious to know what you'll think of her as the chapters progress!!

:) Thanks for your lovely reviews! I've really enjoyed doing the swap, even if it was a review a chapter! I'll definitely let you know about continuing the swap when I have some more time! Thanks for the review and sorry for the length of time it took me to respond!

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Review #17, by Unwritten Curse These Walls

11th May 2015:
Oh, how eerie! I really like this plot line with Laura. It's so sad, but so realistic… to be affected by war in this way… it's just… *sigh* I don't know how you do it, but you create this tone that's spot on. I think it has to do with the details you add in--just simple ones, like the candles and the birds and Mary reading a book at dawn. I need to do more of that in my own writing, because those little details have really brought your story to life. I admire that.

OMG James. Sometimes I hate him and sometimes I love him, and this is one of the times that I love him. How precious that he and Mary were childhood friends. I love that they can now chat about things as serious as war, but in a roundabout way--through talking about Wilkes, who has changed. Again, such a *normal* thing--friends drifting apart--yet within the context of war it's haunting.

Also, part of me hopes there's some Mary/James action about to happen. But at the same time I don't, because of Lily. I ship Jily always. It's not my OTP or anything, but… I hate seeing them apart. But since they don't get together until, what, seventh year (?) then I suppose I'd be okay with some Mary/James action. Yeah.

And as to your questions at the end--I still hate Florence. Why are they friends with her? WHY? I just don't get it.

- Gina

Author's Response: I hope I can continue that plot with Laura and not mess it up. I find that carrying a plot forwards I have trouble with. Or feel like I have trouble with doing so because I meander my way through a story writing those descriptions and tone into it that I think makes a story move a bit slower.

James is fun. I think it's interesting writing him from Mary's POV because we see another side of him we don't if this was in his POV or Lily's. We just see the side of their friendship and how they interact with one another. It also helps that they've just known each other so long that they are incredible comfortable with one another, even if they don't hang out all the time anymore. It's a bond that won't disappear. Furthermore, we see, perhaps, the softer side of James. He's still a bit of an arrogant toad and prankster, but people act differently or show different sides when they are with certain people. We see him this way with Mary. I have no comment on Mary/James :) That would be an interesting thought.

Thanks for the review! I hope you warm up to Florence, but it's okay if you don't. She can be really terrible. It's always good to know I can write a character realistically that people hate, so I can take that away from this :) Thanks for stopping by!

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Review #18, by Unwritten Curse Welcome

11th May 2015:
Hi there! Here for our Swap. :)

I'm not sure where to start, so I'll just ramble off the things that I liked:

- The bit at the beginning about Hogwarts having lost its "magic" for Mary. That felt so real to me, yet I'd never considered it before--that students began to feel the drudgery of school and forgot about the excitement of their earlier years.

- When Florence threw the nail polish out the window. I died.

- The small details, like the Slytherin boys swishing their robes at her, and the gold and red sparks coming from a compartment on the train, and the fact that the girls were painting their nails on the train. It's such a *normal* thing to do. It made the characters feel real.

I'm quite curious where Laura was and why Lily was so concerned. Did something happen? Or was it just the reflection of their paranoia, what with being on the bring of war (at least I think so--is my timing right?).

I do have one question for you. And maybe you answer this later. But I'm really curious why Mary and Mafalda are friends with Florence. She's AWFUL. Like, a serious downer and a cynic and sometimes downright MEAN. She doesn't seem like any fun to be around, so I'm wondering if she's just an old friend they've hung on to or if there's some reason I'm not seeing why they're friends with her.

Anyway, I'm off to the next chapter. Enough of my rambling! :P

- Gina

Author's Response: Hi Gina,

Thanks for reading this story! I can imagine it happening to some students. Perhaps earlier for students who'd grown up with magic who weren't so enthralled with it. It was a normal part of their life so school was just an extension of that. Muggleborns may never because it's something that's so new and so different from their everyday experience. They knew what it was like without magic.

I wanted to focus on the normality of the scene. How they were just girls getting ready for another school year. Their world couldn't be filled with just odd or strange happenings. Some of it is just sitting around petting a cat or doing your nails.

I think it was a mixture of Lily being Lily (at least the Lily in my story) where she's paranoid and obsessive about certain things. She doesn't like not knowing something. Also, I think any strange happenings would, at this point, contribute to the fear of the war that was happening.

Florence. I love her. Not in the you're a good person sort of way, but the fact that she is fun to write. She IS awful sometimes. She... there's a lot of words I could use for her, but she's interesting to put into the story. I'm sure that probably says something about me, but I do enjoy her. I think you'll warm up to her as the chapters go on. She isn't always awful. Their friendship is also explained more as the chapters go on. It's probably a mixture of her being their friend since first year and so now it just sort of 'is' and the fact that there are good things about her past her cynical and mean personality that make her 'good'.

Thanks for your review!!

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Review #19, by St. Brigid. Welcome

31st March 2015:
You set the scene well in the opening paragraphs.

Hmm, I'm now intrigued as to why she feels magic makes beasts and monsters of them all. I assume it's something to do with the wars, but it's not as if our own world is devoid of wars and cruelty.

This line - "Half her body was in the compartment the other was outside holding onto her trunk as if she was ready to bolt" should have a comma after "compartment".

I'm being REALLY nit-picky here, but this sentence sounds a little awkward: '“Ah- well-” Lily said and dithered in the entry for a few moments.' I'd be inclined to say something like, "Lily said, as she dithered in the entry."

I like the way you indicate that the book she's reading is NOT well written.

Oh, I wonder if the new Arithmancy teacher is going to play a part in this story.

"Built up a reserve of expectation so it wouldn't have thrown her so off gaurd." "Guard" is misspelled in that sentence.

I wonder what is happening with Laura. Her absence sounds kind of ominous.

The chapter ends nicely with a couple of "hooks" to encourage us to read on - the question of what's going on with Laura and the fact that the sorting hat has just begun its song.

Author's Response: Hi!

Thank you for your comments and taking the time to read my little story. Yes, there is cruelty in any world you are a part of. Perhaps Mary is naive to think she could ever escape it, whether it be war or cruelty. However, our experience is what tells us what to love or fear. Perhaps she is feeling such fear for what she is going through here.

Thank you so much for your suggestions as well. I have went ahead and made those changes in the chapter!

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Review #20, by writeyourheartout Games Continue

15th March 2015:
Hey Zayne! ^.^

I was so happy to see you'd updated this story; it's truly one of my favorites! And this was another excellent chapter! Yay! ♥

I just love Mary. I loved her from the beginning and she grows on me more and more each chapter. I love her subtlety, her quietness (I've always been drawn to quieter characters), how unassuming she is, and her internal monologue is always so fascinating and intriuging, even when nothing much is really happening. She sees the world just a little bit differently and is highly observant where everyone else is somewhat indifferent and/or oblivious.

Your Lily is so unique; I don't think I've ever read a version of her quite like yours. There's something so... unlikeable about her! But I mean that in a good way, I promise. ;) I don't even quite know how to put my finger on it... I do thoroughly enjoy the choice, though.

The air of mystery that surrounds every single chapter, in one place or another, always leaves me dying to know more. This chapter it really started off with Mafalda. I have no idea what Peter might have meant, why it effected her so deeply, why she's seemingly such an anxious person, or anything else - which I love! Reading a story with this element of mystery and feeling like I don't know where it's headed is endlessly exciting.

Oh! And what about the Remus and Lily and Laura thing? That was strange... What in the world was happening with that?!?! I want to know so badly because I legitimately have no clue! I love-hate it! haha

Still love Florence. She's kind of awful, but also kind of brilliant, and every scene with her is great.

Your Sirius is another exceptional character, and different than I've seen before. A little less... exhausting? I mean, he's almost tame at both the Quidditch match and the party that follows, which is not a Sirius I often see. He's usually the life of these events in some fashion. I love that you chose to allow his upbringing in the Black family to effect him a little more. I think it makes sense that some of those things are ingrained in him, much as he may loath his family. But that superiority sort of complex - feeling like he's above the party - is a pretty direct reflection of his upbringing.

Also... is it bad that I'm shipping Mary/Sirius now? PLEASE TELL ME NO! hahaha Seriously, I really like them together after that conversation.

I wonder what's up with James and this Helen chick... Like, why is he (I assume) dating her? And why was it so important for Mary to meet her? Does James have some sort of ulterior motive here? Or Helen, even? Dun dun dunnn! I really have no idea, they could be totally legit, for all I know. :-p

THAT ENDING! Omg, please tell me you plan to update again soon, because THAT WAS SUCH A CLIFFHANGER! I must know what happens next.


I feel like I should tell you that Remus is my all-time favorite character and if you hurt him... I will be very upset. ZAYNE. WHAT DID YOU DO WITH HIM?? Seriously, he's been MIA, like, this entire chapter, and you've got me all sorts of nervous because of it! Eep!

Anyway, all of that aside, your Author's Note inquired about the Quidditch match and how you handled it, so I thought I'd comment on that as well to say I thought you did it exceptionally well! I loved the fog which added to the mystery of what was even going on out there - especially when the Snitch chase began. It was suspenseful and action-y without being too overwhelming or distracting from other important things that were happening simultaneously. It was the perfect balance of life in the stands versus what was happening on the pitch. Really well done. :)

If you're rusty at writing, it honestly doesn't show at all. Other than a few typo's or missing words here and there, the chapter read wonderfully. Here are a couple examples of those moments, though:

“*Professors, wait, who is the student?" - *Professor

He jumped * and down chanting a Quidditch song the boys had made up in their second year. - *up

Anyway, there are a handful of those little details, but that's honestly my only tiny critique! You're brilliant, this story is amazing, and I sincerely cannot wait for the next chapter! :-D


Author's Response: Tanya!

Gosh, this review still makes me giddy. Mary is such an interesting character, but I'm always a little worried she gets overshadowed or overpowered by Florence who... is very dynamic if you want to call her that (or just horrid, i'd be okay with characterization as well). It's good to hear you really like her and think she is her own character. I love writing her even though it's a lot more quiet and contemplative than a story featuring someone like Florence or Lily.

Talking about Lily... It's easy to side with Lily because she's 'Lily' and supposed to be this great person because of what she's done. I think most will remember the good things about a person and paint them with rose coloured glasses. Especially to the son of said person. I wanted to look at her differently because I've always had trouble being able to write her. She always seemed to mary sue - so perfect. But people aren't really like that. This is me trying to find the person she was, negative traits and all, and looking at how she grew into the person we know her more for. I don't know if it'll work, but she's always struck me as a harder character to make feel like a person. I'm really pleased with how I like that you think she's unlikeable but you aren't running from the hills because of it. That sounds strange to say. I don't want her to be wretched, that wouldn't work either, but I wanted to play with her begin less likeable. Looking at things like would the other girls question her loyalty because of the long standing relationship with Snape? If she was fiery and fierce - that could also mean she was bull headed, pushy, and had a refusal to listen to anyone.

Sirius is fun to write as well. I don't think it's right to ignore all the things he's been through. Even though he doesn't believe the same as his family he spent most of his life being raised by them. That, one, must leave scars, and two, affects how his behaviour will be. He may be an extremely popular and well liked person - but I think he still would have this aristocratic air about him. It's hard to throw off everything you've raised to be. Even if you throw off the beliefs there has to be something in the behaviour that reflects who he was. I think he'd be moody and outwardly arrogant. I think he'd be exhausting in some respects - mostly when he's showing off or with James. I may be wrong, but it makes sense to me.

Hahaha, Sirius/Mary. I don't know what to say to that.

With Helen - i knew it would be weird bringing her in. I think she was working in the back of my mind since the beginning. In retrospect I should have introduced her earlier. But again, this is Mary's story and she's so focussed on other things she doesn't notice all the people James may be meeting. What I can say is the importance for Mary to meet her is that even though Mary and James aren't as close as they used to be, they have a long history of friendship. Sort of like brother/sister and in the same way it's important for a brother or sister to meet a significant other it would be the same here.

Remus. Don't worry about the bloke, he's probably kicking about somewhere. Getting into things and causing trouble ;)

Thank you SO much for your lovely review! I hope the next chapter doesn't disappoint. It will be up very soon. It's just at the beta's :) .

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Review #21, by Ribbons Welcome

14th August 2014:
Oh darling, I love it! This story holds so much potential! Seeing how well you're writing all the characters, I can't wait to see what you do with the Marauders when they come along.

However, the serious stuff has to come sometime. Here it is: I'm finding that there are a lot of run-on sentences in your writing, a habit that is incredibly common and easy to fix.

This is an example of a run-on sentence:

Someone bumped against Mary’s back causing her to stumble forward and if not for Mafalda grabbing onto her arm she would have fallen to the ground.

If I was to rewrite that I might consider this instead:

Someone bumped against Mary's back, causing her to stumbled forward. If not for Mafalda grabbing onto her arm she would have fallen to the ground.

Do you see what I did there? Punctuation exists to organize and direct the reader, kind of like instructions. When you're reading aloud, what happens when you reach a comma, semi-colon, colon or period? You pause, for varying amounts of time. The reason run-on sentences exist and are a problem is that those pause marks are missing in important places, so that that the reader (even when they're not reading aloud) become distracted and confused. I guess it's habit, but you can feel when punctuation is missing, and it's hard to read without it.

Well, now that my grammatical lesson is done for the day, I'd just like to congratulate you once more on an excellent story. Although I might have made it seem like your run-ons were a complete tragedy, don't worry about it.

GRAMMATICAL MISTAKES HAPPEN TO EVERYONE! And they're so easy to fix, especially when they're not spelling, cause that can be a pretty nasty habit to break out of.

Number one tip when battling run-ons? Read your stuff aloud to yourself. When there's a funky sentence, you'll notice it immediately and be able to dispatch your super duper editing skills accordingly.

Sending love and the fervent hope that you will continue to write!

Author's Response: Hi,

Thank you for your advise and review :) . I know i'm pretty bad at run-ons and I think (or hope) that it's gotten better recently. I'm going to have to go back and try to make this all sound better.

Thank you for your kinds words about the story as well! I really appreciate it and I hope you continue to like it.



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Review #22, by Tina Clock Tower

30th July 2014:
I love The relationship between Mary and Regulus. I hope you'll update soon

Author's Response: Do you? That's interesting I hope you continue reading so you can see where it goes! If it goes anywhere, that is :) . Thank you for your review!!

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Review #23, by Pretense Of Perfection Confession

22nd June 2014:
Another good chapter!!!

I'd honestly say you seem a bit like me with your writing. I'm always adding in extra words that really don't need to be there. "That" is something a good example of a filler word. I do this all the time, and literally have to revise my story multiple times before I even think about sending it to a beta.

But again, great job so far!!

Author's Response: Again, thank you so much!

I'm going to go back and check on that. I know I add 'that' in like it was candy... *hides*. I'll try to sort it out so it isn't dropped in there so much!

Cheers and thanks again for reading and reviewing!! These reviews have honestly made my day!


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Review #24, by Pretense Of Perfection Dreams

21st June 2014:
Hey there, just wanted to say another great chapter!!

I have noticed some odd phrasing, and a few spelling/grammar/tense errors. I get stuck with this stuff as well, but just thought I'd point it out.

For some reason I thought that they were all in their fifth year, and whatever happened to Mary hadn't happened yet. I'm daft sometimes, what can I say? I now see that they are in their sixth year, and this event has already taken place. i think that explains one of my earlier questions, about why Mary viewed everything with such a doom and gloom type of attitude. I'm burning with curiosity as to what actually happened to her!!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm glad you're still reading and enjoying it.

Gahh! I try to revise before sending it to a beta, but I find that there are things that slip by. Or I'll read it right in my head, but i've misspelled something. Or written it oddly. I'm going to try and go back and since it's been a while since I looked at it hopefully I'll be able to catch the errors! Thanks for letting me know!

Yes, haha, sixth year. I hope it doesn't seem melodramatic. Let me know if it does, I want Mary to see things in a bit doom and gloom as you say, but I don't want it to be so super angst ridden it gets annoying.

Thank you so much for your helpful review!! I appreciate it so much! -Zayne

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Review #25, by Pretense Of Perfection Ancients

21st June 2014:
I've read the last few chapters, and just wanted to say I think you're off to a great start with this. It's been interesting to read, and I'm having trouble stopping!

Your characters are quite unique...I'm honestly not so sure about Mary at the moment, as I feel we haven't gotten to know her completely yet (it's only chapter 3!), but from what I know so far I like her! Florence is quite over the top and dramatic, not to mention kind of mean and bitter, but definitely not completely unlikable. I think she's a very realistic character. Did I see somewhere that her last name is Meadowes? I'm assuming she's related to Dorcas in some way?

I also like Mafalda so far. She seems pretty level-headed. I don't think I've ever read a fic that she was in, and while I'm not convinced she's in the same year as the Marauders, I really like how you added her in. She seems pretty well-rounded so far. Lily isn't my favorite yet, but then again I feel like she hasn't been around much. I'm assuming that will chance, based on what happens with her friend Laura.

I would like to see more about what Mary and her friends are actually doing...maybe portions of classes they are attending, etc. I feel like a good chunk of the story is Mary's internal thoughts/feelings, and a good bit about their surroundings, but so far their actions haven't really stuck out in any particular way to me yet.

I also like how Mary and James were childhood friends. It's a nice chance of pace, and honestly, something I don't think I've ever thought of, although it definitely fits and makes sense. I'm curious to know more about their relationship, especially as it pertains to the Slytherin boy that they were friends with (I can't remember his name at the moment, sorry!).

And the bit with Regulus was quite interesting as I sense a Sirius/Mary/Regulus love triangle coming on? Probably not, but a girl can dream.

Author's Response: Hello!

Thank you so much for your review! I'm so pleased you're enjoying it so far. I really enjoy writing the characters, to be honest. I'm glad you find them just as realistic. Mary is a hard person to know because of her introversion and the way she doesn't speak her mind too much. It makes her harder to read, I think. Florence is very bitter and angry. It's great you picked up on that, there will be more on it later. She is a fun character though, past all of her horrible traits. I'm also somewhat pleased you don't like Lily right off. I don't really want people to. I've always read her as someone who is perfect and everyone just loves. I wanted to try and change that up to where, perhaps, she has her own things and problems to deal with. She'll eventually become the woman we read about in the books.

I'm glad putting Mafalda in isn't completely ridiculous. I'm not convinced either, but she sounded like she was middle aged from the books and it could potentially fit the timeline. She had to go somewhere so I thought it might be fun to have her here.

I get what you're saying about the actions!! I can sometimes get carried away with describing the surroundings and thoughts I forget about what they're actually doing. I think it get's better as the chapters go on, but I'll definitely come back and edit some more to these chapters, just so everyone has a nice idea of what's happening! Thanks.

It makes sense to me too, if Mary was a pureblood and so was James, they probably would have interacted. Chances are, they would interact with a few other purebloods/halfbloods as well since they don't have to worry about hiding their magic. The other wizard was Wilkes.

Thank you so much for your review! I hope you continue to read and enjoy this!

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